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Saffron: The social relations of production
Giulia Minoia and Adam Pain
Working Paper

Donors and government have promoted saffron in Afghanistan as a legal alternative to the cultivation of opium poppy, both as a commodity that fits with a market-led approach to the country’s agricultural sector and as a crop that can enhance women’s participation in economic activities and their productive role outside the household. But to what extent and in what ways can saffron be seen as an alternative to opium poppy? Does it provide the basis for growth and employment creation envisaged and what does it offer in terms of economic opportunities and employment for women? This paper draws on qualitative interviews in three saffron-growing districts of Herat to examine the current state of the saffron market and its real potential to benefit women and poor people.


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